A divisive topic this week: Using whole hops vs pellet hops in your brew.
I’ll start this by saying that if one is using whole hops one REALLY has to be set up for it. Two words: Hop. Bags. You can do it without but it’s WAY easier to brew with whole hops if you have hop bags.
That said, I dislike using whole hops very much. Bag or no bag. For the following reasons:
- They take up a lot of space in the freezer
- More difficult to weigh out
- They absorb a lot of wort/beer
- Messier to dispose of
- There is no advantage to using them
I have a saying: Whole hops are THE reason that pellets were invented.
I do grow my own and that is one of the few instances of my using whole hops: They didn’t cost me anything except time. And a lot of it. Whole hops are a pain to harvest and the amount of work put into harvesting is disproportionate to the amount harvested.
My other saying about whole hops: I will NOT pay for the displeasure of using them.
I’ve accepted whole hops as gifts (although I suspect there will be far fewer gifts coming my way after this post LOL) and in trade and I use my own that I grow but there is no way I would pay for a bag of whole hops. No.
Pellets are just much easier to use:
- I can store far more in my freezer
- They absorb less of my precious beer
- Way easier to weigh out
- Much less trub to deal with at the end of the brew day or after dry hopping
Dry hopping is actually one of the areas where pellets shine. Trying to get a couple of ounces of whole hops into a carboy and making sure that they are all in contact with the beer? Yes, bags, but again, you have to be really set up for it. With pellets I just don’t need to worry about more gear. Not that more gear is a bad thing. 😉
There, I got that off my chest.
As always, your mileage may vary. Flame away.
(My apologies to all those who have given me whole hops. They were not wasted and they were appreciated. Thank you.)